Chimpanzees as vulnerable subjects in research

Jane Johnson, Neal D. Barnard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Using an approach developed in the context of human bioethics, we argue that chimpanzees in research can be regarded as vulnerable subjects. This vulnerability is primarily due to communication barriers and situational factors - confinement and dependency - that make chimpanzees particularly susceptible to risks of harm and exploitation in experimental settings. In human research, individuals who are deemed vulnerable are accorded special protections. Using conceptual and moral resources developed in the context of research with vulnerable humans, we show how chimpanzees warrant additional safeguards against harm and exploitation paralleling those for human subjects. These safeguards should include empowering third parties to act as surrogate decision makers for chimpanzees, ensuring participant "assent," and avoiding recruitment of animal subjects based merely on convenience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalTheoretical Medicine and Bioethics
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2014. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher

Keywords

  • Animal research ethics
  • Chimpanzee
  • Informed consent
  • Medical research
  • Vulnerable populations

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